July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Pre-College Engineering Education
Among the many professional development opportunities available for educators, Research Experience for Teachers (RET) programs funded by the National Science Foundation offer a unique opportunity for teachers to participate in authentic scientific research for 6 to 10 weeks at institutions of higher education. In this paper, we describe and evaluate the RET summer program administered by [BLINDED]. This program aims to provide elementary, middle and high school teachers with a background and first-hand experience in the design, methods, and analysis of research associated with nanomanufacturing. Other goals of the program include reinforcing the value of incorporating scientific inquiry and engineering concepts in the context of schools’ STEM curricula and providing teachers with the tools, experiences, and ongoing relationships with career scientists and with fellow teachers. By the end of the 7-week program, teachers are expected to prepare a scientific poster to summarize their research. Additionally, teachers receive support to prepare a complete lesson related to their research topic that will be presented in front of [BLINDED] faculty, staff and school administrators. The lesson will become a part of the school’s science curriculum for the following school year. In line with NSF goals, the program offers strong support in curriculum development, thanks to the introduction of a “master teacher”, which is a former RET participant (who attended the program twice) with expertise in curriculum development. The master teacher serves as a role model and helps during the lesson design. [BLINDED] organizes weekly cohort meetings where teachers share their ideas, receive feedback on their lesson plan and network with other RETs and [BLINDED] faculty and staff. Teachers receive an additional stipend after successfully submitting their lesson plan to the website TeachEngineering.org. Cumulatively, [BLINDED] has supported 51 teachers over the past seven years, affecting an estimated 5,000 students. To date, these teachers created 33 lessons posted on the [BLINDED] website, 8 of which have been accepted by TeachEngineering.org to post on their national platform. The evaluation of this program has been performed by analyzing responses from pre- and post-surveys of the 2016 to 2019 cohorts. The main focus of this paper is investigating the influence of the program on increasing participants’ self-confidence in research skills and on self-reported confidence and comfort on teaching practices around engineering. The data analysis shows that teachers gained research-related skills, increased their knowledge and application of engineering concepts, improved awareness of engineering opportunities for their students, and built confidence in teaching using open-ended problems and investigations.
Mastronardi, M., & Borrego, M. J., & Hartman, R. D. (2021, July), Impact on Teaching Practices of a Summer Research Experience for Teachers (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37290
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